The Ross Report
Release Date: January 02, 2018
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
0:00 – Intro
J.R. opens the show talking about the Rose Bowl with Oklahoma taking on Georgia. He queues up his guests, Pat Laprade who wrote Mad Dog: The Maurice Vachon book and Sean ‘X-Pac’ Waltman.
2:24 – What’s On J.R’s mind
J.R. was in Las Angeles on New Years Eve and had good meetings about Slobberknocker potentially being on TV or film. He did not get into a lot of details but is very optimistic.
He talks about the Rose Bowl in Pasadena which had 92,000 fans in attendance. Unfortunately for J.R., his Sooners lost . He was able to contact Tony Schiavone before and after the game, who is a Georgia fan. He mentions that his love of the Sooners were a positive force in his life in a difficult 2017.
J.R. puts over the work the WWE is doing in women’s wrestling. He loves the fact the rules for the women’s Royal Rumble match are the same as the men’s and that winner of the women’s Royal Rumble will get a title shot. He brings up an interesting scenario asking if the winner of the women’s rumble is on Smackdown, can they challenge the RAW champion which would be an interesting storyline.
J.R. talks about the Royal Rumble being the kickoff for WrestleMania season and says when he used to sign talent, he would always ask if that talent had a chance to headline WrestleMania. If they didn’t have a viable chance, then he would be a bit more cautious with the hire. J.R. tells a story of Vince McMahon telling him that he had lost $50 million on the XFL but said it was a calculated risk that he would do again. He applauds the work the WWE is doing to build the legacy of female athletes in the company and says it provides hope to all women wrestlers because it provides opportunities that weren’t available in the past.
J.R. talks about his show on Royal Rumble Sunday at noon called the Slobberknocker Sessions. If you buy a ticket you get a hardcover copy of his book Slobberknocker that he will personalize, a photo op and there will also be a Q&A. Jeremy Borash will be there as well. Only 100 tickets will be sold.
J.R. talks about the work he and Josh Barnett will be doing voicing over the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom show. They will be voicing the three main events. J.R. compares Naito to the Attitude Era Stone Cold Steve Austin and says the fans live vicariously through him. You can see this show in a 3 hours special highlighting the three main events on Saturday January 6th (on AXS TV). J.R. talks about some additional appearances he’ll be doing including an appearance on Home And Garden TV doing a cooking session.
J.R. sends well wishes to Larry Matysik who hosted Wrestling At The Chase TV show with one of the great promoters Sam Muchnick who was the long time NWA president.
J.R. says retail outlets should now stocked with Slobberknockers. He mentions the book is about to go to its fourth printing which is a big deal in the book industry. The publishers of the book are surprised at how well the book is doing.
J.R. talks about the upcoming National Championship football game and wishes both teams luck.
22:31 – Pat Laprade
J.R. welcomes Pat Laprade to the show. J.R. says he enjoyed the Sisterhood of the Squared Circle book and has begun reading Mad Dog: The Maurice Vachon Story. Pat talks tells the story of why he decided to write the book (23:47 into the podcast). On the day Maurice Vachon passed away, he and his co-author Bertrand Hebert were asked to do a number of interviews to speak about Vachon. At a book fair they were attending, they met their editors to pitch the idea of a biography for Vachon. The editors saw the interviews the two authors had done and the reactions over the passing of Maurice and gave them the go ahead to write the book. A French version was published in 2015 and the English version was released last September. The book is available on Amazon.
Pat says while Maurice was a big a star Maurice was in Quebec, he spent most of his career in the United States in various territories and was well known in the US. The New York Times ran an obit for Maurice when he passed away.
J.R. asks what made the character of Mad Dog Vachon unique. Pat says Maurice had a unique look. Beyond that, he talked differently and had a big voice that was gravelly. Pat said it took years for Maurice to find his character, when you look at pictures of a young Vachon at 18 or 19. When he started pro wrestling, he would look for things that would make him different and it took him 10 years to develop his character. Pat says Vachon was one of the first wrestlers to look directly into the camera during interviews instead of answering and looking at the announcer. Vachon would try things piece by piece to do things that were different than everyone else.
J.R. asks how Vachon thought about working for Verne Gagne in the AWA, which was like his home base where he had his greatest success. Pat responds that Maurice loved working for Vern and says he was on top in the AWA for more years than he ever was in Montreal. Pat adds that Vern and Maurice were friends. When Maurice had an accident in 1987, Vern did an interview wishing Maurice a speedy recovery. Pat says Mad Dog Vachon started in Portland but his biggest success came in the AWA. He wrestled singles at first but also teamed with his brother Paul at the end of the 1960s.
J.R. says early in Pat Patterson’s career, he ran into Maurice in the Portland territory and asks Pat Laprade if he had heard the same story (30:11 into the podcast). Maurice had seen Patterson very early in Patterson’s career and liked what he saw. Patterson moved to Boston, however, Maurice sent him a letter to move to Portland. Initially, Patterson didn’t go right away so Maurice then sent another letter. Patterson moved to Portland which is where his careers really started taking off. Maurice took care of him and they became friends. Patterson has stated there wouldn’t be a Pat Patterson without Mad Dog Vachon.
J.R. asks for an example where Mad Dog showed his toughness (31:47 into the podcast). Pat says Maurice was an amateur wrestler and went to the Olympics in 1948. He also won the gold medal at the British Commonwealth games in 1950. Maurice then worked bouncer in night clubs and was the best bouncer in the province of Quebec. This actually became dangerous because some people were frustrated they couldn’t beat him in a fist fight. A former wrestler who was working for the mob took Vachon aside and said he may want to consider doing something else because these people would just come back with a gun and shoot him. Pat goes on to say that Vachon didn’t start fights but finished them. However, it did not take much for Vachon to get into a fight. He would throw people down the stairs and continue beating them to the point other people had to stop Maurice before he killed someone.
The best story Pat heard was in when Maurice was working in Grand Prix wrestling during the 1970s (33:38 into the podcast). There was a restaurant all the wrestlers stopped at on their way to the town and the lady running the restaurant was having issues with some guys. That evening, Maurice went to the restaurant. The troublemakers were there and Maurice punched a guy then used a fork to take the guy’s eye out. Pat wasn’t sure if this was a real story but a lot of people told him the same story. Luckily in the ’70s, the justice system wasn’t what it is today so he got away with it because he was Mad Dog Vachon.
Pat says as a kid, Maurice was always getting into trouble and wrestling kept him off the streets. When he was young, Maurice and his friends would make a sport of beating up English speaking kids and if it wasn’t for his father getting him into amateur wrestling, Maurice could have become a thug and not have the career he had.
J.R. and Pat briefly discuss Dino Bravo. Pat says Dino wasn’t expecting to get released from the WWE and was making (and spending) a lot of money. He did not see the money stopping anytime soon and when it did, other than wrestling, he did not know what else to do. He had family in the mob, which was the easiest way to make money so he put himself into that position. Maurice on the other hand, was working as a bouncer at some clubs that were owned by the mob but he was never in the mob.
J.R. says Maurice was well liked by a number of his peers and was a unique contrast in that a potentially violent man had a big heart. Pat said that Maurice and Mad Dog were two different people. Mad Dog was the vicious wrestler whereas Maurice was generous, happy and have fun. Pat says Maurice was a father figure to Roddy Piper. Roddy said if it wasn’t for Maurice you would not have heard about Roddy Piper. Maurice was always generous with his advice. He also created the Baron Von Raschke character and helped his brother Paul. Pat says Maurice helped so many guys.
Pat tells a story about the Quebec Hall Of Fame that he started. He would send ballots to a number of the old timers including Maurice. Vachon would always send back a bunch of 8 x 10 pictures along with the ballots. The last time Vachon voted, he was late but wrote a nice note to Pat which Pat still has in his archives (40:32 into the podcast). Pat said this was an example of how generous Maurice was with his time. He was also generous with his money which didn’t suit him well as he would sometimes give more than he was getting.
J.R. says it was a good thing that Maurice knew what reality was because back in that era, a lot of the wrestlers lived their gimmick outside the ring which didn’t do them well. Pat mentions that even though Maurice was a shooter and was a good amateur wrestler, he never used that in pro wrestling. Early in his career, he wanted to use that style in Montreal and would tell guys he wanted to shoot with them which did not sit well with the office. Because of this attitude, Eddie Quinn (Montreal promoter) did not want to book Maurice because he was afraid Mad Dog might go into business for himself. When Maurice went to Texas, he started developing his heel character. What worked was biting, scratching and heel tactics that had nothing to do with amateur wrestling. It was funny that Vern Gagne was a shooter and a career babyface who used the amateur background to his advantage whereas Maurice went the opposite direction.
J.R. and Pat discuss Maurice’s run in Texas, starting in Houston for Morris Segal then back to Canada, then Amarillo and back to Houston. He would work Texas in the winter then come back to Quebec in the summer as he wanted his kids to know French and to see their family. Even though Maurice did not see his kid a lot, it was important to him that his kids be close to their family.
J.R. plugs Pat’s book and says it is very accurate. They discuss some of the pictures in the book and how interesting the evolution of Maurice was. It shows in the pictures and the story as well. Pat goes on to say it was important to talk about Maurice in and out of the ring. It was also important to talk about the good and the ugly things in his life as it helped Maurice become a better person at the end of his life.
J.R. mentions that Pat was in the attendance during the Montreal Screwjob in 1997 (49:26 into the podcast). Pat confirms he was there and J.R. asks what his thoughts are after all these years. Pat says in ’97 he wasn’t smart to the business and was mostly a fan enjoying the first PPV in Montreal. He knew something was wrong but did not know what was going on. He says that he always remembers Bret tracing the WCW letters with his fingers. Pat says the emotions are different now because he understands what happened. J.R. says it has changed for him too but he has moved on. Pat says it did changed the business and the landscape of wrestling.
The thing that amazes Pat is that WCW did not try to get into the Canadian market. WCW could have stolen some markets from the WWE such as Montreal and Calgary. They also discuss the fallout from the screwjob and how it affected different people. Pat says he wasn’t pissed off when he left the Molson Center that night, he was wondering what was happening. At the time, Pat was going to University and the day after the Screwjob, he met a fellow wrestling fan who became his friend. A few years later this friend started a wrestling website and got involved in the independent scene in Montreal bringing Pat along with him. Indirectly, the Montreal Screwjob was responsible for getting Pat into wrestling and becoming an author.
J.R. plugs the book again. The name of the book is Mad Dog: The Maurice Vachon Story. You can find the book on amazon. J.R. thanks Pat and they sign off.
59:51 – Sean Waltman
J.R. welcomes Sean to the show and asks how he’s doing. Sean says the holidays were great and life in general is good. J.R. talk about Waltman’s podcast (X-Pac 1,2,360) and asks him about the show. X-pac’s show comes out every Wednesday and he mentions Maria Menounos and her fiance helped him get into podcasting. Sean says he thinks he has been a really good guest on other people’s shows but that doesn’t always mean it will make you a good host so Sean is happy that it’s something he’s been able to do. He also admits that his promo and talking skills weren’t the best part of his game throughout his careers so he’s glad it’s something he’s been able to cultivate. He further explains that talking was a skillset he neglected during his career but now that he has to do it, he’s happy to step up. If anyone wants to book Sean for an appearance, they can contact Bill Barrens (email@example.com).
J.R. and Sean talk about Barry Bloom who he still keeps in touch with (1:03:35 into the podcast). Waltman says he was Barry’s first client after Jesse (Ventura) and tells the story of how Barry convinced Sean to jump to WCW.
J.R. talks about hiring guys from WCW and telling them that while he couldn’t give the same guaranteed contracts that WCW was providing, he told them they would make more money if they came to the WWE through better payoffs and it happened to everyone he said that to.
Sean says he was in WCW for 2 years but was on the shelf for 9 or 10 months before he got fired. He tells the story of being ready to come back from neck surgery but got the Fedex that he was terminated (1:05:51 into the podcast). While he was mad at getting fired by Fedex, he was happy because he thought the WWE was gaining momentum. He said he was not going to go back to WCW once he got terminated. He also makes a comment that the WWE knew that to which is why they gave him a lowball offer which pops J.R. Sean goes on to say that he made so much more money than his downside contract.
Sean says before getting a merchandising check, he had a chat with J.R. who talked to him about financial planning which is something he never forgot. J.R. says being in talent relations was a thankless job but thanks Sean for remembering this. Sean says that he was in the million dollar range for a few years while in the WWE.
J.R. and Sean start discussing the 25th Anniversary RAW and what they may be doing for the show. Sean confirms he was invited a few weeks ago. They also discuss Kevin Nash, who may be back depending on his rehab from knee surgery (Kevin discussed his knee surgery on J.R.’s podcast last week). J.R. doesn’t care what he’ll be doing at the show, he’s just happy he’ll be there.
J.R. was asked if there was one memory or match from RAW that sticks out. He mentions calling the Bret Hart/Sean Waltman match with Randy Savage (1:10:38 into the podcast). Sean says they wrestled well over thirty minutes but the match was cut down to 25 minutes. J.R. says it was a great story and that Sean sold but never gave up. Waltman says it’s one of the matches he’s most proud of and says he watched a video of it with Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane doing commentary and says they ruined the match. Waltman says J.R. and Savage on commentary was so much better and made that match. J.R. says he was never comfortable working with Randy. J.R. says Randy was very talented and did not trust anyone, even on commentary. J.R. goes on to say this match showed the class and professionalism of Bret Hart because he did not have to give Sean as much of that match as he did but it made Sean. And when Bret did finally beat Sean, it meant something. Waltman adds that is a textbook example of how you win getting beat.
J.R. asks Sean about the Twitter wars between Jim Cornette and the Young Bucks. Sean says certain people in wrestling get bent out of shape and there are some valid criticisms. Waltman says he is a fan of the Young Bucks but feels the spot in question was a little much (click here to see a video of the spot). J.R. says the first time he saw a spot like this was with the midget wrestlers (and I hope I don’t offend anyone with that term). J.R. says he hated refereeing their matches because they were miserable. J.R. brings up a story about one of them in the shower. (Quick note…Because I don’t know the decency parameters of the pwpodcast website, this is all I’m about comfortable with recapping this story but have a listen to it because it is hilarious. It happens at 1:14:41 of the podcast). Aside from the story, it was also a memorable night for J.R. because he got paid in hotdogs. He got two hotdogs but the promoter (Leonard Clay) wouldn’t give him a Coke.
J.R. brings up a discussion with Kevin Nash about being in the business for 30 years and Nash thinks there will be less wrestlers who will have 30 year careers do to the bumps that the current wrestlers are taking. Waltman thinks it may not be the case because there are less flat back bumps the guys are taking, which may add time to their careers. But he adds if they miss some of the moves they’re doing these days they could get messed up.
J.R. says he wants the wrestlers to have long careers, make money, and take care of their families. Waltman adds he was someone who did big moves early in his career to get noticed but as his career moved on he evolved his style to where he did not have to dive out of the ring every match. J.R. says Waltman was one of the first guys who was proficient with using kicks. Waltman says he would not have been as successful without his use of kicks. They were his equalizer and were a big reason why guys like the Undertaker and Big Show would bump and sell for Waltman. This brings up a quick discussion about drinking/gargling Jack Daniels and both get nauseous today when they smell Jack.
J.R. brings up Vince McMahon and Alpha Entertainment and asks Sean what his thoughts are. Experts say if the new football league (if that’s what it is), gets the same ‘low’ ratings it got back in 2001 with the XFL, you could be a millionaire because of rights fees and that so many platforms need content. J.R. says Vince is big on research and feels whatever he’s going to do, he will do his due diligence. J.R. adds that Vince should buy the Carolina Panthers, as the current owner is selling the team after this season. Vince is from North Carolina and has the money and would automatically become the best marketer in the league. Bottom line, J.R. says whatever Vince decides to do, it will be well-thought. J.R. does not doubt Vince as Vince was able to take the ‘ratty’ business of pro wrestling to a global platform.
J.R. says if Vince does another venture, it might mean that Triple H would have to take a bigger role on the wrestling side. Sean says it makes sense but he can’t see that happening because Vince is so hands on. J.R. and Sean discuss how Vince is willing to take risks. J.R. talks about Vince telling him that he lost $50 million on the XFL but that even though they lost some money, it was a calculated risk and they learned from the experience. Sean says it was a bummer they got ridiculed for taking a risk and trying something different. J.R. says he knows for a fact the NFL did not want the XFL to succeed. J.R. would get ripped by NFL writers because they considered him a ‘wrestling’ guy. J.R. likes Vince’s chances and thinks Vince will put together a dream team for this venture.
J.R. shotguns some quick discussion points such as Vince’s drive and motivation, WrestleMania, putting a match together, challenging yourself to change up your routine especially in a wrestling match, different ways of presenting wrestling and being a fan of all wrestling from strong to silly.
J.R. asks Sean if he knew Tom Zenk and Sean says he knew him a little. Sean was asked about the cause of death but has not heard any news. They go on to discuss some of the wrestlers from Robinsdale such as Curt Henning and starting with Vern Gagne. J.R. mentions Vern was a great teacher and compares his teaching with the New Japan Dojo environment. J.R. thinks the New Japan Dojo idea would not work in the States due to current laws in the U.S. and Waltman adds the dojo concept could work but would need to be tweaked. Waltman talks about the New Japan dojo in Santa Monica and says he trained with Antonio Inoki there.
J.R. brings up P.J. Polaco falling off the wagon and asks Sean what he would tell him as Sean has been in that situation. Sean says he talked to him after it happened and told him that he would be in that spot in life until P.J. decided he truly believes he doesn’t deserve to be miserable. He adds it takes a long time to get to that mindset. J.R. also talks about what he thought about Sean’s mindset, which caused some of his issues, but also says that Sean had great skills and cultivated relationship with the main event guys. Sean adds he always looked at himself as a star and admits he had insecurities but none of those happened while he was in the ring. He says he feels fortunate that he’s had a lot of people who checked up on him even during some of his lowest points.
J.R. asks if there is someone not in the WWE who has caught Sean’s eye and who could make it. Sean says he just came back from an Australian tour and mentioned Austin Aries, who he feels will do well on the independents. He also says Ricochet is really good and does things that others can’t do. He adds that while some may criticize his style, these are things that can be fixed and that Ricochet can learn. Both J.R. and Sean say Ricochet is a good person who would be good to have in your crew.
J.R. brings up the work he’ll be doing with Josh Barnett for the Wrestle Kingdom show and says he doesn’t plan on watching anything or reading any spoilers before the matches. He doesn’t want to pre-condition himself by reading what someone else said about it. Sean asks if J.R. is always like that. J.R. goes on to say he doesn’t like or need to know. J.R. says that the wrestlers provide the music and the announcers provide the lyrics and you put that all together to make a nice presentation. He says he’ll be prepared but doesn’t want to know what will happen.
Sean asks J.R. about being at Wrestle Kingdom 9 and asks if J.R. ever has to relieve himself. J.R. says no, he stays at the announce table for the whole show. He goes on to mention that he and Matt Stryker got no cues or direction from anyone. They briefly discuss the idea of having a PPV with a Jericho/Omega main event in the States. J.R. says he likes the angle with Jericho and Omega and Sean adds it’s a simple angle which is easy to understand. J.R. says that a lot of people will overthink angles and Sean says he thinks some people overthink their matches and try to entertain themselves and not the people. J.R. goes on to say Wrestle Kingdom will be a great card and Waltman puts over Gedo the New Japan booker ,who is a huge American wrestling fan so he’s not surprised that they’re doing all these innovative things.
J.R. asks why there is such a big buzz about New Japan. Sean thinks a lot of people stopped watching wrestling when they tried to appeal to everyone. He sees New Japan is a throwback to the athletic approach to wrestling. J.R. says the goal for this event was to sell thirty thousand tickets, which they think will do. J.R. also says the Okada/Naito match has been put on the back burner and Waltman mentions that Naito has been making a big deal to the press about their match being the main event and that there is no double main event which he adds is healthy.
J.R. asks Sean who his Mount Rushmore of wrestling is. Sean says takes an outside the box approach and says Flair/Santo (or Mil Mascaras)/Inoki and one other guy. J.R. says he could come up with different variations and they would all be valid.
J.R. and Sean discuss some of the great matches he’s had an opportunity to call including Flair/Sting, the three Flair/Steamboat matches and the three Austin/Rock WrestleMania matches. Waltman asks about the Taker/Michaels match. J.R. and Sean both agree that their match at WrestleMania 25 was the best one. J.R. likes that fact that he and Lawler were able to change gears calling Hogan/Rock at WrestleMania 19.
J.R. and Sean talk about some of the challenges they’ve had recently but are both in a good place in life right now. J.R. wishes Sean a great holiday season and Sean mentions he’s been able to repair the relationships with his kids since getting his life back in order. J.R. is able to relate as he had some relationship issues with his kids due to him putting his job before everything.
J.R. plugs Sean’ social media and podcast which drops every Wednesday and they sign off.
1:54:04 – Show wrap
J.R. thanks Sean and Pat for being on the podcast. He plugs Pat’s book again as well as his own and once again plugs the Slobberknocker Sessions coming up in Philadelphia during Royal Rumble weekend. And that’s a wrap.
Rating – 9/10
This podcast had two great guests with a lot of great information. The discussion about Mad Dog Vachon was really interesting and Sean Waltman is always a great podcast guest as he’s very knowledgeable about the wrestling business. Both guests also told some interesting stories. Excellent podcast.
0:00 – Intro
2:24 – What’s on JRs mind
22:31 – Pat Laprade
23:47 – Why Pat decided to write the Maurice Vachon book
30:11 – Maurice Vachon and Pat Patterson
31:47 – Mad Dog shows his toughness
59:51 – Sean Waltman
1:05:51 – Sean gets fired from WCW
1:10:38 – Discussion about the Bret Hart/Sean Waltman match from RAW
1:14:41 – Story about the little person in the shower
1:54:04 – Show Wrap
Joe lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two boys. He’s been watching wrestling for about 40 years (give or take) but doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, mark, smark or whatever term they use out there. He just likes wrestling. Check him out on twitter and instagram @ja113.